Ranking Member's Press

08.05.14

Following Collapse of Corinthian Colleges, Harkin, Durbin, Democratic Colleagues Call on the Administration to Perform Better Oversight of the Financial Integrity of For-Profit Colleges

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senate HELP Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL); and four of their Senate colleagues today asked President Barack Obama to immediately provide more information on current efforts by the Administration to better protect students and ensure that the situation with Corinthian does not repeat itself at other large publicly traded for-profit education companies. "The recent announcement that Corinthian Colleges Inc. will largely cease operatin… Continue Reading


08.04.14

Members of Congress: More and More Children Being Exposed to E-Cigarette Marketing Are Picking Up Habit

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Thirteen Members of Congress today called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take immediate action to protect young people from predatory e-cigarette marketing and distribution tactics that are straight out of big tobacco's playbook. According to the journal Pediatrics, the number of children aged 12 to17 years exposed to e-cigarette marketing increased by 256 percent between 2011 and 2013. In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the Members wrote: "While FD… Continue Reading


08.01.14

Harkin, Casey Praise Implementation of New Protections for Coal Miners to Prevent Black Lung Disease

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Committee's Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, today released the following statement applauding the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) implementation of new protections to protect the health and safety of coal miners and prevent black lung disease. "I applaud the Department of Labor for taking action to protect our… Continue Reading


08.01.14

Two Bipartisan HELP Committee Bills Clear Senate, Head to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The bipartisan Autism CARES Act and Improving Trauma Care Act of 2014 will be the 15th and 16th HELP Committee bills to become law this Congress, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Committee, announced today. The Senate cleared the measures last night and both bills were recently passed by the House of Representatives. ‎ "The HELP Committee is charged with improving and supporting our country's public health. The enactment of the Autism CARES Act and the Improving … Continue Reading


07.31.14

White House Executive Order on Federal Contracting Echoes Recommendations From Harkin Investigative Report

WASHINGTON, D.C.-A new White House Executive Order (EO) to strengthen the federal contracting system by promoting compliance with federal labor law echoes many recommendations from a 2013 report issued by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, that revealed widespread labor law violations by major government contractors that went unnoticed in the contracting process. "As my report revealed, the growing use of federal service co… Continue Reading


07.30.14

Following Harkin Report Uncovering Labor Law Violations by Federal Contractors, White House Announces Executive Order to Strengthen Protections and Improve Workplace Conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will sign an Executive Order to improve the federal contracting system by taking new steps to ensure that companies paid by taxpayers provide safe and fair workplaces for American workers. The Executive Order will require prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations and will give agencies more guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. The White House action comes … Continue Reading


07.30.14

Two Years After Harkin Report Revealed Questionable Business Practices in For-Profit College Industry, New Analysis Shows For-Profit Colleges Are Top Recipients of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Dollars

Top Eight For-Profit Colleges Received $2.9 Billion in Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Funds Between 2009 and 2014 and Nearly 25 Percent of all Post-9/11 GI Bill Funds Last School Year Seven of Top Eight For-Profit Colleges Receiving Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Benefits Are Under State or Federal Investigation WASHINGTON, D.C.-Two years after a landmark investigation into the for-profit college industry revealed a host of serious problems, including poor student outcomes and high debt burdens, a new report by the… Continue Reading


07.25.14

On 24th ADA Anniversary, Harkin Reflects on Progress, Work Ahead to Ensure All Americans with Disabilities Have the Opportunity to Succeed

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in recognition of the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a signature achievement for Harkin, who authored the bill and was its chief sponsor in the Senate when it was enacted in 1990. "On Saturday, our nation marks the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the la… Continue Reading


07.24.14

Harkin, Miller, Franken: Five Years Since Last Minimum Wage Increase Has Meant $6 Billion Pay Cut for Low-Wage Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C.-On the fifth anniversary of the last minimum wage increase, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Representative George Miller (D-CA), and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) held a press conference to outline the growing pay cut currently faced by millions of minimum- and low-wage workers as a result of Congressional Republicans' refusal to raise the minimum wage. For instance, since 2009, the cost of child care has risen more than 14 percent, mass transit fares have increased by more than 21 perce… Continue Reading


07.24.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the HELP Committee Hearing: “The Role of States in Higher Education”

"Since the establishment of state land-grant universities, our country has rightly recognized higher education as an essential public good. States have played a critical role to an affordable college education, through investing in higher education, being a key player in oversight, and developing strategies to increase degree attainment. "There is a lot to be proud of, but we must re-examine the states' role in light of today's challenges. The steady erosion of state investment in public highe… Continue Reading


07.23.14

HELP Committee Approves Seven Bipartisan Bills, Builds on Record of Accomplishments

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement after the HELP Committee approved seven bipartisan bills at a Committee markup today. The approved bills include: the Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act; the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education (MD-CARE) Amendments of 2014; the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorizati… Continue Reading


07.22.14

Harkin, Miller, Warren, DeLauro Introduce Legislation to Establish Fair Work Scheduling Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C.-In response to recent workplace trends and supporting research that suggests uncertain work schedules can have broad negative consequences for working families, leading Democratic members of Congress today introduced legislation to stem abusive scheduling practices directed primarily at hourly workers. In some of the economy's fastest-growing and lowest-paying industries-including the retail, food service, and janitorial sectors-workers face erratic and irregular work schedules… Continue Reading


07.22.14

PHOTOS: At White House, Harkin Applauds Signing of Bipartisan Bill to Update America’s Job Training Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bill seeks to update and improve the nation's workforce development and vocational rehabilitation systems and was passed by the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is the 14th HELP Committee bill to become law in the 113th… Continue Reading


07.22.14

Harkin: ACA Designed to Ensure Quality, Affordable Coverage Available to Every American

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today following rulings from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (King v. Burwell) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Halbig v. Burwell) regarding the use of tax credits on state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces. Harkin is chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and played a pivotal role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "The goal of… Continue Reading


07.22.14

Harkin Applauds Committee Approval of CRPD, Urges Full Senate Consideration

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today applauding the approval of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and urging its consideration by the full Senate. Harkin is the Senate author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and has helped lead the fight in the Senate to ratify the CRPD. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. … Continue Reading


07.22.14

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) At the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee Hearing: “Coal Miners’ Struggle for Justice: How Unethical Legal and Medical Practices Stack the Deck Against Black Lung Claimants”

*As Prepared for Delivery* "Thank you to Senator Casey for holding this important hearing so that we can learn more about the struggles that coal miners and their families face when filing claims for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. "Although we don't really mine coal in Iowa anymore, protecting the health, safety, and benefits of our nation's miners has always been important to me because of my father, who was a coal miner. Black lung disease is personal for me because I know what… Continue Reading


07.18.14

Harkin Applauds Executive Order to Ban LGBT Discrimination Among Federal Employees and Contractors

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today regarding the news that on Monday, President Obama will sign an Executive Order (EO) banning workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers among federal contractors. The EO will also ban discrimination against federal workers on the basis of gender identity. "Discrimination has no place in the… Continue Reading


07.16.14

Harkin: We Will Not Give Up the Fight to Ensure Access to Health Care Services

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after Senate Republicans obstructed consideration of theProtect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act, also known as the Not My Boss's Business Act. Harkin is an original sponsor of the bill, which would restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health se… Continue Reading


07.16.14

Harkin, Blumenthal, Casey Introduce Legislation to Hold Companies Accountable For Concealing Defects

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Hide No Harm Act of 2014, a bill that would make it a crime for a corporate officer to knowingly conceal the fact that a corporate action or product poses a danger of death or serious physical injury to consumers and workers. The bill, which would create punishments of up to five years in prison and potential fines, would also create a safe harbor from criminal liability in cases wh… Continue Reading


07.11.14

HELP Committee Senators to HHS: Mishandling of Dangerous Pathogens Calls for Review of Policies and Procedures

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, led by Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), are pressing for answers following three separate incidents in which select agents were reportedly improperly handled, stored, or transferred by federal laboratories at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell today, the lawmakers called for a careful rev… Continue Reading

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